You can get the fastest computer you've ever owned, delivered to you door for between $100-$200, but there's one catch. It's rack mount.

Unfortunately, as soon as a used server sports a desktop case, the price jumps up considerably because they are more useful to small businesses. The price reduction for rack mount servers makes sense. They normally require large rack enclosures, their unwieldy and noisy. And finally, the main users of this technology, i.e other data centers are not often in the market for used technology.  

There are like 800 reasons to have a server, but here are the things I'm going to try and create:

  • Network Area Storage (NAS) capable of video editing over 10gbe.
  • Node Red home automation server for advance leak detection and prevention.
  • NGINX & Apache servers for web development projects
  • Python based web scraping projects
  • And who know what else

Sounds like a lot and to be honest, I don't really know how to do any of it. I'm certainly not qualified in any way shape or form. Hopefully, I will save someone else some headache somewhere down the line. Here it goes.

Find the right server for the right price. I'm using THIS TOOL that THEY built which helps compare all of the servers listed on eBay. My goal here is to get as many CPU cores and as much RAM as you can. The NAS solution will require a high number of cores and a lot of RAM to function properly (so I've read).

Deploying a Hypervisor. A Hypervisor will allow me to carve up the server into virtual machines. Basically the single "bare-metal" server I get from eBay, can be transformed into many virtual servers doing their own thing.

Creating Network Area Storage. For my use case, my NAS will be storing creative files like video, images and graphics. I'll likely be using FreeNAS as the OS for the NAS because it's gained a lot of popularity. RAM is a priority for FreeNAS but I do need to research how RAID is handled.

Adding a Cataloging Server. I'm not entirely certain how to go about this at the moment. Having deployed a similar system at work, bulk storage just isn't enough. You need a server that can track files based on a metadata schema that you define. For instance, at work I can query our storage for dance footage from last year. There might be a different NAS os that will do this, or a FreeNAS addon that will save me the trouble. Option two at the moment is a two system solution. Carving out a VM for something like Axle Video, could work as well.

NGINX + Apache servers. This is just an idea at the moment. Maybe a Docker server solution would be better. I'm not sure. The general idea is a platform to spin up test web development projects.

Web Scraping. There are a handful of ideas I have about collecting data for social issues and creating data driven scroll-ies.

Stay tuned I guess.